Dec 17, 2012

Call of the Wild- Pench National Park



Madhya Pradesh has great number of national parks and tiger reserves popular being- Kanha and Bandhavgarh. One of the lesser known national parks is Pench. After my Amarkantak trip I took a break for few days only to return back t Nagpur. From Nagpur I was looking for a bus to Khawasa, nearest village few KM away from the park. In the beginning I asked for the bus to Pench national park. Nobody seemed to know. I wondered!! Then a person advised me to ask for Khawasa and not to say national park but say Abhayaranya (which means protected forest which in turn means national park). It worked!

After a long ride on a Maharashtra State Transport bus to Seoni, I was there at Khawasa ... took a taxi to Pench and he dropped me at Kipling's Court Resort run by Madhya Pradesh Tourism. It was my childhood dream to visit this place ... It seems this forest gave Mr. Kippling the inspiration to write The Jungle Book, now every little kid's lovely dream. I still have the video cassette which I used to watch almost everyday! I took a room and had the heavy and sumptuous lunch. The room was very spacious with LCD TV, a battery in case of power cut, fan and a huge clean bathroom with hot water. There was a herd of rabbits in the resort premises. Soon the resort arranged for a shared evening-ride into the forest with a NRI couple of my parents' age.

The ride in the forest wasn't flat. The route went uphill and downhill giving a hint of adventure. The place is bustling with spotted deer. I happened to spot few owls and birds of prey. Then saw neelgai and sambar families. One speciality of this forest is the Ghost Tree. In all the green-brown vegetation this tree stands out! Blemishless white bark, thick trunk and aloof! The beauty is obvious in the dusk. Real ghostly!!  There was no sign of Sherkhan (name of the tiger as in Jungle Book) yet! Then it was dark and returned from the safari. After watching TV for sometime it was time for dinner. Again the dinner was heavy, a simple dessert made of poha and fruits was delicious. I gained all the calories I had lost in the last fortnight!

Next morning, I had a family of two young couples as my safari-pool. Looked like they wanted to dress up for Sherkhan and so took extra 20 mins to arrive. Well, we went on safari. There were  few very strong alert calls from monkeys and deers. We waited ... but, my safari-pool didn't have much awareness about the wildlife ... the tiger was about to appear and cross the road, and one of women opened a chips packet ... purrr purrr ... the tiger turned away into the bushes ... I could see only the rear of the tiger and that beautiful tail! Now, having shown us the tiger, though only the rear, the driver just drove around without bothering much about the alert calls. Then it was just a ride on the uneven road ... beautiful peafowl, startled spotted deer and sambar families, owls hiding in the tree-hollows, and more ...

Pench National Park falls on the migratory route of waterfowl in winter.  Well, a pair of Brahmani Ducks made my day. Though I saw them from far with no DSLR-Zoom lens I could get this picture. They looked beautiful. There was a Crested Serpent Eagle resting on a tree branch near a pond. 

A pair of Collared Scops Owl in a tree hollow was too good. There were many of them resting in the hollows in different parts of the forest. They looked very cute in the golden light of setting sun. The peacocks were seen in abundance. The males had some feather show too for our eyes' delight. Wild boars were around. I had a sight of a red fox, not very sure about the identity but looked very close! There was one huge male Indian Gaur feasting (?) on the tree bark. It was alone and the muscles on its back were very well defined. Nothing less than muscles of leading men in movies :) It was nice to see how the hidden cameras are placed to monitor and gather info on wildlife. After the morning safari I had sumptuous breakfast with idli-vada-sambar, sandwitch, poha and very tasty cardamom tea.

Compared to other popular national parks in Madhya Pradesh, Pench looked much wild, dry and less crowded. The visit to less visited Pench National Park was a great experience. Though I saw only the rear of a tiger it was fun ride in the Kipling's footsteps. I loved it! 


From Khawasa I took a private bus to Jabalpur. I was asked to sit on the engine-bonet up to Seoni. Ha ha ... it was very well cushioned. I reached Jabalpur in the evening. I enquired with few people on how to reach Bandhavgarh National Park, my next destination.
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This post is linked to Our World Tuesday and Nature Notes.

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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

30 comments:

  1. I have been to Ranthambore National Park and was amazed at the wildness of that forest. Ever since that, I was always fascinated to visit similar such places in India.

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    1. Yes, visiting these national parks is an amazing experience! BTW, welcome back!!

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  2. beautiful write-up and photos

    thanks kusum

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  3. A beautiful play back of The Jungle Book through your trip to Pench with amazing pictures, Kusum! Thanks indeed:)

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  4. Nice account of your experience at Pench national park. Unlucky to have missed the tiger by a whisker. Senseless tourists are always a bad company during such tours. I too missed a tiger by a micro second in Masinagudi 3 weeks back.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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    1. Ahhaa ... it really feels bad not to sight a tiger :( I feel sorry you missed one!

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  5. What a wonderful place. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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    1. Yes, it is wonderful place indeed! Thank you :)

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  6. What a wonderful trip you've taken us on, Kusum!! I do love to visit parks/game preserves like this! Your photos are the next best thing to being there myself! Have a wonderful week!!

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    1. Thank you so very much Sylvia for the kind words! Glad you like the post :)

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  7. This park looks like a real finding. I had never heard about it before.
    Beautiful pictures and post.

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    1. Girdhar, definitely this place is one of the lesser known. Glad you find this post useful :)

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  8. What pretty pictures from the park.

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    1. Thank you Lady Fi, you have been very kind :)

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  9. Captivating narration and amazing pics ! I can feel your excitement and delight pulsing in your veins as I read this post.

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    1. Thank you Mr. Ramakrishnan! Welcome back from your long break :)

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  10. What a wonderful place!
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and text.

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  11. A lovely story and beautiful photograps too. India is a wonderful country.

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  12. We have a gum tree with a similar colour trunk - and its called a Ghost Gum! Strange.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thank you Stewart, yeah the ghostly-way it looks in the low light might have given that name!

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  13. I am so glad that you realized your childhood dream to visit Pench National Park and took us along with you. So sorry you missed a better view of the tiger, but the ducks and owls were amazing! The spotted deer with his beautiful antlers, Indian Gaur and Neelgai were also wonderful to see!

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    1. Thank you Carol! Yeah, it was a dream true :)

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  14. very nicely written Kusum.All details and opinions are put together accurately.Thanks for sharing.

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